But as many of us recall, in those first days and years following 9/11, the fear and wonder of how far terrorists had infiltrated our cities and towns was real – how far had they gone to integrate themselves into our societies, waiting to strike unannounced? The concern was so-called Sleeper Cells, and when the FBI arrested three Arabs in Detroit just 6 days after 9/11 on false document charges, our worries were confirmed.
However, what if it turned out that these alleged terrorists weren’t terrorists at all? That this alleged sleeper cell was, in fact, just a dream? What if, as we debate today government’s reach and the tension between public safety and civil liberties, we had fair warning nearly a decade ago that terrible mistakes are extremely easy to make? What, if anything, have we learned?
Peter Klein is a Reporter and Director at Retro Report, the non-profit news and documentary group that follows important events after the headlines fade. Their new video is “The Sleeper Cell That Wasn’t.”